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Week 11 legislative update: annexation bill clears senate committee, budget bills continue to move

By the KACo Advocacy Team
It is week 11 of the 2024 General Assembly regular session and there are only a handful of legislative days left in this 60-day session.

As lawmakers draw closer to the veto recess set to begin March 29, they have also revised the calendar for this session.

Under the changes, days 53 and 54 have been moved from March 19 and 20 to March 21 and 22. Session days 55 and 56 have been moved from March 21 and 22 to March 25 and 26. Two days set aside for the House and Senate to concur on bills, March 27 and 28, will remain the same, as will the veto days running from March 29 through April 9. Session days 59 and 60 will also remain the same on April 12 and 15. 

The full calendar for the 60-day session is available here. It is important to note that all budget and revenue bills will be negotiated in conference committees, where legislators are appointed from each chamber and will present those final products to the House and Senate for their approval. Recent history has had these bills on the governor’s desk prior to the beginning of the veto period so as to preserve their ability to override any potential vetoes by the governor. 

HB 6 – (Rep. Jason Petrie) The biennial executive branch budget passed the Senate 37-1 and now heads to conference committee where it will change again as conference committees begin their work next week to reconcile all budget and revenue bills. Click here for a more in-depth summary of the Senate’s version of the budget. Conference Committee members: Representatives Petrie, Osborne, Meade, Rudy, Miles, Bowling, Bray, Graham, Stevenson, Roberts; Senators McDaniel, Stivers, Givens, Thayer, Raque Adams, Wilson, Mike Nemes, Neal, Thomas and Webb.

HB 596 – (Rep. Jonathan Dixon) The compromise annexation bill cleared the Senate State and Local Government Committee this week. A floor vote on the measure is expected when legislators return next week. Click here for more information about HB 596 and its impact on counties with a population of 30,000 or more.

HB 5 – (Rep. Jared Bauman) known as the “Safer Kentucky Act” passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. The bill creates harsher penalties for violent crimes and creates new consequences for homeless encampments, including making unlawful camping a class B misdemeanor after the second offense. Class B misdemeanors can carry a sentence of up to 90 days in county jails.

HB 723 – (Rep. Richard Heath) is the update to last year’s HB 9, which established Kentucky’s GRANT Program, the state’s program to provide matching funds for federal grants. The current draft of the legislation contains the following stipulations:

  • The GRANT Program of 2023 would remain in the Department for Local Government but would sunset on April 15, 2025. The Department for Local Government would no longer accept applications on April 15, 2024.
  • The GRANT Program of 2024 would be housed in the Department of Agriculture. Because of new and changing federal designations, eligible grant recipients are now all counties, cities and 501c3 non-profits. Public agencies are no longer eligible applicants for state matches. The GRANT Program of 2024 would still permit and encourage collaboration, meaning that multiple entities could pursue a grant with a regional application or a singular application, provided that the applicant meets recipient eligibility requirements.
  • The GRANT Program of 2024 would require that local entities contribute anywhere from one to five percent of the state match required for a federal grant. The match percentage is based on the population density and population trajectory (based on the U.S. Census) of the area the federal grant in pursuit aims to serve.
  • The 2024 Program is exclusively intended for federal grants identified by the Interagency Working Group on Coal & Power Plant Communities & Economic Revitalization.
  • The current draft proposes scoring criteria and weights for various factors including the economic impact of the project as well as federal agency prioritization.
  • The 2024 Program also creates specific deadlines for decision-making by the Department of Agriculture. The Department would make final determinations for state match obligations within 21 days of an application’s submission. The Department of Agriculture would begin accepting applications for the 2024 Program on May 15, 2024.

HB 580 – (Rep. Jennifer Decker) This legislation is the result of legislators, Kentucky county clerks, Secretary of State Michael Adams and the State Board of Elections working to continue improvements in elections. The bill came off the House floor last week 89-0. The state has not increased the annual funding methods for elections since the early 1970s.

  • In its current form, the bill addresses funding for new registrants and current voters and shifts the precinct funding to per voter funding for Fiscal Courts, resulting in an increase.
  • It allows for the State Board of Elections to enter into agreements with other states to ensure the state can remove voters who move their residency to another state.
  • It requires the State Board to execute a form for voters to self-report when they move.
  • It includes provisions for county clerks and voters to improve access to the ballot for certain absentee situations.
  • It allows for changes to County Board of Elections membership during the off year of elections instead of after the primary elections during the Presidential year. The bill is currently in the Senate awaiting committee assignment.

HB 833 – (Rep. David Meade) Modernizes vehicle inspections for sheriffs and auto dealers, increases thresholds of decades-old fees and allows for the appointment of up to two special inspectors at certain car dealers to complete inspections of vehicles sold by that dealer.

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